Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Film Studies

Cinema Classics Seminar:
Midnight Cowboy

Thursday, May 4, 2023, 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm  
Instructor: Maurizio Giammarco, Ph.D., Department of Intellectual Heritage, Temple University

Midnight Cowboy (1969) was one of the most intense and explicit works of the New Hollywood era. It follows naïve Texan Joe Buck, who moves to New York City with dreams of becoming a gigolo, and there forms an unlikely friendship with small-time con artist “Ratso” Rizzo. Set against the social upheaval of the late ‘60s, the film documented a profound shift in the American imagination and cinema: it subverted the stereotypes associated with cowboy masculinity; it contributed to a wave of films that defied or re-imagined classic film genres; it explored adult themes and sexuality; and it depicted a New York rarely seen on film in eras prior—cold, bleak, corrupting.

Director John Schlesinger, a then-closeted gay man, related to the source novel’s themes of repressed homosexuality, loneliness, and identity.  Drawing upon the kitchen sink realism of British cinema and the experimental style of the French New Wave, he fashioned Midnight Cowboy as both a mainstream and art film, one less about sex than about the loss of self-worth.

Midnight Cowboy became one of the year’s most successful films and made stars of Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman, both nominated for Oscars. The film ultimately received three Academy Awards including Best Picture, becoming the only X-rated American film to win the honor. Join us, then, as we experience a film considered both Pop Art and social document, prescient as well as poignant.

Are you interested in “just” seeing this movie? Visit the public screening page here.

Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. All students receive an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. In addition, those in attendance receive a ticket to see it on the big screen, as well as popcorn and a drink. Please note: the screening associated with this seminar will be open to the public, as well.

If you are unable to attend this seminar on site, you can rent and stream it in our Remote Classroom beginning a week after the event date.

Please email BMFI Programs and Education Coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.


Course Information

$25 for members, $35 for non-members


  • Thursday, May 4 · 6:30 pm

Make your donation today!



cover of BMFI's quarterly magazine, Projections, issue 65

March – May 2023


Accessibility at BMFI

Health and Safety

Support our Sponsors

20–21 Annual Report